Why Dee Snider Had ‘Trepidation’ in Twisted Sister’s Early Days: Exclusive Interview
With hit singles, platinum sales and worldwide fame, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider has experienced the rock star success most artists can only dream of. Still, there were plenty of naysayers early on who predicted the band would fail.
“There was that trepidation. It was instilled in us through other people, that what we did wouldn’t translate,” Snider explains in an exclusive interview with UCR. “It was even in the United States. Here we were, this New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state [band], there’s a certain vibe. [We’re] very much, very New York guys with a New York attitude, you know, 'Suck my dick,' which I got arrested for in Texas. People would say, “Yeah, well, it’s not going to fly in the heartland.” It’s not going to fly in the Midwest.”
But fly it did, and Snider credits much of Twisted Sister’s success to the unifying camaraderie of metal fans.
“They’re all wearing the same uniform, all in the denim, rock t-shirt and leather,” Snider notes. “They’re throwing the metal horns with the same passion and the same love.”
The genre's ability to unite fans serves as a central theme of For the Love of Metal Live, Snider’s new CD/DVD.
“I talk about a book called Heavy Metal Islam, which came out a number of years ago, which talks about the fact that with all of the shit that goes on in the Middle East, behind the scenes, there’s a community of metalheads connected, crossing all borders through their music, through their love of metal,” he explains. “And For the Love of Metal, by its very inspiration, the initial inspiration, I wanted to communicate that same feeling that this love is everywhere.”
The new release comes on the heels of 2018’s For the Love of Metal. That solo effort featured Snider alongside many of modern metal’s biggest names, Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, former Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones and Lamb of God’s Mark Morton. Though this material skewed heavier than most Twisted Sister, Snider insists the sound harkens to his band’s early days.
“Twisted Sister was a metal band. Before it was labeled anything else, in ‘81 and ‘82 and ‘83 when we were touring with Motorhead and [Iron] Maiden and Saxon and Metallica, nobody was blinking,” he says. “Nobody was going, ‘What are these guys doing out here?’ It was metal. And that was just the way it was. Nobody even thought twice. The place was packed from the minute the doors opened. And they cheered as loud for Metallica as they had cheered for us. Nobody left when Metallica went off.”
Widowmaker, Snider’s sorely underrated hard rock group from the ‘90s, also gets a moment on For the Love of Metal Live via “Ready to Fall,” a tune from the band’s 1995 Stand By for Pain album. According to Snider, there’s more where that came from.
“We’re actually struggling right now to put together some sort of a box set," the frontman admits. "We’ve got a lot of….believe it or not, there were people who thought that was going to be [a big band], and did a lot of filming of recording sessions, rehearsals and gigs. So we’re gathering material and trying to get the rights to release [it all]. The first album, God, it’s not even available anywhere in the world right now.”
Blood and Bullets, Widowmaker’s 1992 debut, went quickly out of print as their U.S. label, Esquire Records, shut down unexpectedly not long after the album had been released.
“They got arrested by the Canadian government! Fucking Mounties came down on horses and locked them up! It was insane! We’re like, 'What the fuck?' The same thing happened to me with Shooting Gallery, who did Strangeland,” Snider laughs. “I socialize with the best people! But anyway, the actual original band lineup is all working together now to try and put together something. Just for those who care. This is a piece of my career and my life that most people don’t know about. But there was some good shit there.”
A new studio track titled "Prove Me Wrong" rounds out For the Love of Metal Live. The song offers fans a preview of what to expect from Snider's next batch of new material.
“It’s not an outtake from the last record. It’s a new song that I wrote with [guitarist and collaborator] Charlie Bellmore,” he explains. “It’s a selling tool, but I wanted people to say, ‘Alright, this is what you can expect to hear from me.’ This wasn’t a one and done. This is Dee Snider now.”